Poetry is an amazing type of literature. Amazing because it can carry the most compelling message in the simplest verse. A single poem can evoke feelings and emotions and create images with just a few words.  To begin this journey of our language, children should be exposed to poetry at a very young age. I believe that reading poetry is the greatest way to expand vocabulary and to inspire! And what better way than to have the best poetry at your fingertips.  Here are the most current and extraordinary poetry books available on the market today.  I've included poetry for all different ages.  And, if you haven't discovered the beauty of poetry, select any of these and you'll be hooked for life!

"The 100 Best Poems of All Time", edited by Leslie Pockell, is a compilation of the greatest poems ever written.  Ms. Pockell selected only one poem from each awe-inspiring poet from around the world in order to keep this paper back book to an easy-to-carry size. She knew that once this book was discovered by the purchaser, they would want to keep it handy! I also love the way she has written a short description of the circumstances surrounding each poet prior to writing each poem.  Great for 12 through adult.

"Home To Me, Poems Across America", is a compilation of different poets that Lee Bennett Hopkins selected to write about residence in our great country. After reading these brilliant poems, I began to sense the incredible diversity of our great land. Each poem resonates the experience of living in that area of America. Beautifully illustrated by Stephen Alcorn. Wonderful for all ages!

Now for a traveling poetry book for families! "take me Out of the bathtub and other silly dilly songs" is a magnet for laughs and jeers!  Alan Katz has written the most inventive collection of poems to fit familiar songs and they are hilarious. I tried this book out with some teen-age boys. I left the book in the back seat prior to them getting in the car. It didn't take long for all of them to not only read the poems, but sing the words and laugh all of the way to our short destination.  Imagine how great this book would be on a trip! The illustrations, by David Catrow, are as funny as the words! Great for all ages!

"Witness", by Karen Hess, is a moving account of the interaction of the KKK and an African-American girl, a Jewish girl and the rest of the town. Written in verse, each poem is written about different people in this l924 Vermont town. Very powerful. For 11 and up.


"A Poke in the I", selected by Paul B. Janeczko, is a wonderful celebration of the creative ways words can be placed on a page. These concrete poems have a way of surrendering your imagination into complete involvement. If the poem swirls around into a spiral, you will swirl the book around and around in order to read it. If you find the type beginning so small that you can barely read it, and then it gradually gets larger until the ending jumps out at you, you might take a step back. The illustrations, by Chris Rashchka, are as creative as the poems. Great fun for 6 and up.

"Wool Gathering, A Sheep Family Reunion", by Lisa Wheeler and illustrated by Frank Ansley, is a very cleaver picture book about different members of this sheepish family. Each poem centers on a different family member. Great for ages 4 through 10.

"Wiggle Waggle Fun, Stories and Rhymes for the Very Very Young", by Margaret Mayo, is a wonderful compilation of poems and short stories that will enlighten the toddler in the family. The illustrators are some of the best in the business. A great combination and a sure hit with your youngster.

Jack Prelutsky is one of my favorite poets for youth. His newest edition, "The Frogs Wore Red Suspenders", illustrated by Petra Mathers, still has the rhyming punch that children love to read! Great for children of all ages

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